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Mastering Metallics: discover Symon May's latest collection

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Glittering Gold by Symon May, The Chapel

Throughout time metals have been the subject of wonder: essential to our everyday existence, whilst still harbouring so much beauty. Metallic shades have been all over the catwalks and high street of late, and have now become a staple in our everyday palette as hair colourists. Rather than asking for brunette, blonde or red tones, we are often asked to transform hair into glistening gold, silver, copper, or bronze tones - metallics are now part of the way we speak about colour, texture, and tone.
Here, we introduce you to our latest collection which takes inspiration from these precious metals, with an insight into how we created each bespoke look.

Metallic Inspiration

Working in the salon every day, our colour specialist Symon May, saw an opportunity to experiment with metals. Of course, everyone has seen the plain and simple realisations of this trend in full block colour but Symon took a more creative approach to metals. He looked at how metals react when heated, “ I saw that people had accepted metal as part of their everyday hair-wardrobe but wanted to take it one step further. Annealing, the process of heating metal encapsulated everything I wanted to create. I became interested in this process and the colours that metal releases under the stress of heat/flame - as in life, often our brightest colours show faced with stress.” Inspired by this natural process, Symon created four bespoke looks each representing a different metal: gold, bronze, copper, and silver.

Considered the most precious metal of all, gold, was what took Symon’s attention first. Symon looked to imitate an image of a blow torch being used to heat a rod of gold, “ after analysing several photos of gold being heated, I found that it whitens but also has a vague hue of blue or pink on the edges - like a halo”

His model, India, already had blonde hair which was a great place to start. Using a high lift tint, Symon looked to add a gold colour but also give shine and great condition. He then used a paint-on lightener to prepare the mid sections which were being used for the halo of blue. The light and paralleling blue sections were all applied in the same position on the curve of the head to give the light band strength.

Roni Chapman (an expert stylist) then cut the newly coloured hair into a blunt straight-edged bob, sitting slightly longer at the front. Lottie Denton (another of our fantastic team) finished the look with with flat irons and a contrastingly voluminous fringe to offset the sleekly straightened main body.

Sleek Steel

A symbol of industrial strength, but also a source of much beauty - steel was the next metal Symon chose to focus on. “I saw a photo and some tables of steel being annealed and the graduating colours it shows at different temperatures. The heated steel went from silver, to yellow to orange, to purple to blue, so it was here that I took my inspiration”

As a starting point, Symon took to using balayage on Natasha (his model), to reclaim the hair back from old temporary colour and washed-out ends. This gave him a base to start working on, creating a graduated look using colour blocks to emulate annealed steel. Working freehand, he painted silver, yellow, orange, purple, and blue down towards the ends of the hair.

With such long lengths of hair, Symon kept things simple with a straight finish and sharp ends to replicate the vision of a solid sheet of steel.

Curious Copper

A less conventional metal, made for the perfect fit for Symon’s third model Poppy. Inspired by the deep rich brown and copper rings created when heated, Symon set to create a look which complemented Poppy’s skin tone and natural hair colour.

With faded demi-permanent dye through the mid-lengths and ends, Symon first used a deep rich brown to provide a solid base. Now, the fun part. Using his own unique technique ‘Ring Lights’, Symon painted circles of copper surrounded by lightener into 1-inch-thick curved sections. This pattern was used all over the head to create a subtle shimmer of copper and blonde on the dark base - just like when copper was heated.

As the colouring was more subtle, Ian Hampson (another of our expert stylists) accentuated it with a high volume front quiff and natural falling waves - a sumptuously dramatic finish.

Stunning Silver

And so finally, the metallic shade that we find being asked to emulate the most - silver. “Amelia’s (Symon’s model’s) colour is based on silver after I was inspired by a photo of silver being blowtorched creating blue, green and pink colours.”

To create such vibrant colour, of course, you have to start with a very light neutral base. Symon used Premium Lightener to maintain condition and further lighten Amelia’s over processed hair. He then toned the hair in two different stages to gain a clean silver colour. Symon then chose to use strawberry, steel, and jade colours in lines and curves. These shades really help the hair to reflect the light.

With so many different colours to show off, Ian Hampson corrugated Amelia’s hair using straighteners to set the hair in alternate directions. These bold waves took the same form as the concentric circles which came to inspire the look.

Symon’s four looks took metallics to a whole new dimension, using skilled techniques but also inspiring the creation of new ones. Keep an eye on our blog for more of our talented team’s work or get in touch if you’d like to experience the expertise of our colourists for yourself.

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